Modernizing European Higher Music Education Through Improvisation

Institutions: Antwerp

Antwerpen: Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp

The Antwerp Conservatoire involved improvisation in a structural way since the Aquarius Project (late 90’s) where it was implemented to all instruments, combined with an experimental education-project with young children (6 year) on making music without reading scores.

Since then improvisation has become an obligatory study-subject in the first bachelor year of the classical department. Moreover, all keyboard players (piano, organ, harpsichord, accordeon) and all guitar players have to follow a mandatory five year program. Other instruments can follow improvisation after the first bachelor year as an optional course.

Our team of experienced and open minded improvisation teachers includes on the one hand musicians who are focussing on the specific requirements of the instrument (Carlo Willems, percussion; Hendrik Braeckman, guitar; Ewald Demeyere, Korneel Bernolet and Matthias Coppens, keyboard; Walter Baeken, winds); on the other hand musicians as Paul Dinneweth and Yves Senden focus on a more global approach.

Both tonal skills as well as more ‘free’ modes of expression are integrated in the improvisation sessions, individual and in small groups.

The Conservatoire is also investing a lot in cross over between different departments (eg annual common ground-week) since the school hosts music as well as dance and drama in the same building. De Singel, our campus, is also an international art center which opens many opportunities for students to get into contact with the world scene on performing arts.

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International Improvisation Competition René Arons

On the 1st and 2nd of February 2019, the second edition of the 'International Improvisation Competition René Arons' will be organized. This competition is organized in memory of René Arons, pianist, improviser and beloved teacher.

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Paul Dinneweth


Yves Senden